‘Almost non-existent’ cold, cough season costs 30 jobs at P.E.I. lozenge plant


Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant.

The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the “almost non-existent cold and cough season” so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. 

“Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021,” Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News.

“While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we’ve made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation.

The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands.

“2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods,” said Spencer. 

“We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world.”

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